Alma Rosa: Small is Beautiful in the Sta Rita Hills

This small winery was started in 2005 by Richard Sanford and his wife Thekla to produce high quality wines following organic and sustainable agricultural methods. In 2014, the estate and winery were sold to Bob and Barb Zorich, both graduates of UC Santa Barbara and residents of Houston where Bob built a successful private equity company. El Jabali, the estate vineyard planted with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Grenache, totals 28 acres and is certified organic. Alma Rosa also buys grapes from other Santa Rita Hills vineyards.

Samra Morris, Winemaker

Samra Morris (pictured right) who was born and raised in Bosnia, is Alma Rosa’s talented winemaker. She received her winemaking training at the University of Sarajevo. She made wine in the Napa Valley before moving to the Sta. Rita Hills.

A new winery is on the horizon. The single vineyard and estate wines are all excellent.  The wines are produced in small batches of less than 400 cases.

 

 

The Wines

El Jabali Vineyard

 Alma Rosa 2020 Inox Chardonnay Sta Rita Hills ($30) 91  This unoaked Chardonnay from the Jabali Vineyard offers a bright fresh nose of minerals and citrus.  Almost saline-like on the palate, it reveals tangy acidity and savory notes on the palate.  Finishes dry and firm with continuing savory notes. A Chardonnay of real character.

Alma Rosa 2018 Chardonnay Sta Rita Hills ($30) 92  Half INOX and half  barrel fermented, this Chardonnay is matured in mostly neutral oak for 11 months. It offers a spicy nose with citrus and baking spice notes and is clean and full on the mouth with mineral like notes. Exhibits balanced flavors with excellent acidity.

Alma Rosa 2018 Grenache Robert William Ranch Sta Rita Hills ($55 ) 92 This lovely Grenache displays a dark red fruited nose of ripe red berries on the nose.  On the palate it reveals lovely fruit flavors and a soft texture with good acidity, balance and freshness.  It also shows hints of earth along with slightly jammy fruit. 14.8 alc.

Alma Rosa 2019 El Jabali Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills $65) 92  The El Jabali Pinot Noir offers aromas of ripe dark fruit with a sweet red cherry nose.  It is round and full in the mouth with dense, sweet red cherry and black berry fruit. It also reveals touches of vanilla oak, firm tannins and good overall intensity of flavor.

Alma Rosa 2019 Pinot Noir Bentrock Vineyard Sta Rita Hills ($68) 94   This Pinot Noir displays a medium dark ruby color with a savory and spicy nose of dark cherries and wild herbs. On the palate it exhibits concentrated red berry fruit flavors, firm round tannins, notable minerality, a firm structure, and a long, rich finish.  A superb wine from a superb vineyard.

 

 

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